Has your child been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or do you suspect they may have sleep apnea? Do you think they’ll grow out of it? Many people believe that sleep-disordered breathing conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea, is something that kids will outgrow. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Children who develop sleep breathing disorders carry the condition into adulthood. If you suspect sleep apnea or another sleep breathing disorder in your child, it’s time to talk to Dr. Ward.
Why Treat Sleep Apnea?
It’s no big deal, though—it’s just snoring or gasping while sleeping, right?! Unfortunately, this is not true; it is a really big deal. Leaving the condition untreated can equate to serious long-term consequences for the brain and overall health.
Growth. The bottom line is that when affected by sleep apnea, kids are not getting the rest they need to grow correctly. Growth is affected by sleep apnea and sleep breathing disorders because the brain never reaches the deep sleep stage of sleep known as stage N3, the non-rapid-eye-movement, or “slow-wave” sleep. It is in this sleep stage that the growth hormone is secreted. When your brain doesn’t make it to stage N3, you don’t get enough growth hormones. Without enough growth hormones, children who are affected by sleep apnea or other sleep breathing disorders can struggle to reach full development and are often smaller than other kids their age.
Brain Development. Sleep breathing disorders contribute to the development of learning deficits in children, too. These deficits include the ability to acquire new skills and make good decisions. Memory can also be impacted.
The ability to reason can also be impaired, as can the ability to process information and solve problems. Some children may experience speech problems as a result of sleep breathing disorders.
Many children affected by sleep breathing disorders also experience behavior disorders. Who wouldn’t be a little grumpy after not getting enough sleep? Some behavioral problems that have been connected to sleep apnea or other sleep disorders include:
- Learning disorders
- Problems with socialization
Bedwetting. Bedwetting can also develop as a side effect of sleep apnea, which can occur way past the age of potty training. Bedwetting happens because when you reach deep sleep, the body slows down the production of urine by producing an antidiuretic hormone. Without this hormone, the bladder becomes filled up, and bedwetting may occur.
Are you noticing any of these signs in your child? Call Dr. Ward at Face ForWard Orthodontics today at 214-304-8485.